Archive for June 2009
ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — A woman accused of dipping into her ex-husband’s bank account without permission blames her dog.
Arlington, Wash., police spokeswoman Kristin Banfield says detectives filed court orders to follow the money trail. They learned the money disappearing from the 42-year-old Arlington man’s account was being used to pay for utility bills and other sundry items at his ex-wife’s home.
Banfield tells The Herald that the woman’s first response was, “Her dog got into her purse and ate all her personal checks.” The 50-year-old woman reportedly told police she had no choice but to take money from her former husband’s account.
The spokeswoman says other excuses were offered as well. The women is under investigation for identity theft and forgery and Arlington police have forwarded the case to Snohomish County prosecutors.
No idea where in North America this intersection is, but suddenly Spokane’s Deadman’s Creek, Jump Off Road or Blasted Lane no longer seem as unfortunate.
see more Fail Blog
I’ll be out of the office beginning Friday, June 26 and returning Monday, July 13. Editor David Wasson will update this blog when he can, but expect light posting until I return.
Call him Spokane’s alleged version of the Hamburglar.
Police today arrested a man they say is the ringleader of a cutlet cartel that had been stealing meat and selling it in Spokane for at least three years.
Read Sara Leaming’s story here.
Two former employees of a Spokane nonprofit dedicated to feeding low-income residents used more than $80,000 in donations to pay for booze-soaked lunches, Victoria’s Secret shopping sprees, video rentals, computer equipment, home upgrades, furniture and a Florida vacation, investigators alleged last summer.
One of those women, Cheri Mataya-Muncton, pleaded guilty to first-degree theft in Spokane County Superior Court today for her role in the embezzlement at Mid-City Concerns’ Meals on Wheels, which she directed for several years. She won’t serve jail time and has already paid $10,000 restitution.
Kootenai County marine deputies will be patrolling lakes and river this week looking for dangerous boaters, according to a news release.
Operation Dry Water is a national campaign sponsored by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators.
In a line reminiscent of a Star Trek movie, the sheriff’s department reminds boaters that if they’re operating under the influence, “their voyage will be terminated.”
The boat could also be impounded and the driver arrested, the news release said.
Along with drunken boating, boating faster than 15 mph within 100 feet of another vessel is illegal, the sheriff’s department said.
On the Coeur d’Alene River, Spokane River and Lower Tin Lakes, the required distance is 50 feet.
Suspects on today’s court docket included a man accused of an ax attack last week.
Jon A. Bedard, 42, was scheduled to plead innocent to one charge of second-degree assault for the alleged attack on Douglas Allen Chicklinsky June 15.
Bedard is in the Spokane County Jail on $75,000 bail. Read a story on the attack here.
Tom Clouse alerts us to a timeline he put together in 2006 that chronicles the police response to the Otto Zehm death.
Check it out here.
BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was sentenced to a year in jail for trying to smuggle cigarettes into Canada.
The Bellingham Herald reports Jonathan H.Fletcher was found guilty in a Surrey, British Columbia, court in February and sentenced to jail Tuesday and ordered to pay a $16,000 fine.
The Vancouver, B.C., resident worked at the Point Roberts port of entry. He was fired after he was caught in March 2005 returning to Canada from Blaine with 22 cartons of undeclared cigarettes in his trunk.
Investigators say he had smuggled cigarettes 54 times over two years.
The man accused of a machete attack in Spokane last week is a member of a local family with a storied history.
Read a story about Douglas W. Harmon’s relation to a man shot and killed by police after shooting up a church at Gonzaga University in 1971 here.
In this story on the machete attack, the victim says Harmon was asking which one of the girls was Nadine. Harmon has an older sister named Nadine.
Harmon’s father, E. Glenn Harmon, died in 1994 but resurfaced more than a decade later when a Kootenai County prosecutor claimed to have spoken with him in 2004.
Bill Douglas said a court reporter misquoted him in a story you can read here.
It’s been a busy two days on the beat.
Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson has been indicted in connection with the death of Otto Zehm.
Overshadowed by the Zehm announcement but still interesting is a story about a paralegal for the city of Spokane accused of a drunken altercation on an airplane. Read that story here.
The story linked above is the version that was posted before the final version uploaded to the web site at midnight. Read that version here. We usually delete the earlier version but didn’t with this because that verion had comment that would have disappeared.
The married boyfriend of convicted killer Shellye L. Stark will remain in Spokane County Jail on $750,000 bail, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Brian L. Moore, 43, arrived at the jail early Tuesday after Spokane detectives picked him up in California.
Moore was arrested in Orange County April 27 on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the Dec. 9, 2007 shooting death of his girlfriend’s husband, Dale Robert Stark.
He’s accused of helping concoct the murder plot and Stark’s self-defense claim, which a jury rejected in March. He appeared in court via video Tuesday afternoon.
Moore’s public defender, John Rodgers, asked for Moore to be released on his own recognizance, but Judge Ellen Kalama Clark imposed the bail and emphasized that he’s not to contact Stark, who’s serving a 50-year prison sentence in Gig Harbor.
Moore’s arraignment is scheduled for June 30. Stark’s two sisters attended the court appearance.
Moore will stay with sister Karen Jachetta if he posts bail, though Haskell told Clark that Jachetta is helping Moore and Stark communicate with each other.
Also on today’s court docket were sentencings for two OxyContin robbers.
Edward A. Saner, 24, and Joshua M. Warren, 18, will each serve prison time for their crimes.
Read a story on that here.
Suspects pleading innocent in court today included a man accused of causing a crash in downtown Spokane that killed an elementary school secretary.
Jon A. Strine, who is out of jail on bond, is charged with vehicular manslaughter and vehicular assault for the June 2 crash. Read a story on the incident here.
Suspects on the first appearance docket included an accused OxyContin robber and a man charged in a bizarre carjacking and police chase that ended with the death of his girlfriend.
Lance S. Shaw, 26, apologized to Walgreens clerks Sunday when he told them he had a gun and demanded OxyContin, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Witnesses said Shaw said he didn’t care if he got caught and that he needed treatment for his addiction, according to the affidavit.
But what makes Shaw’s story particularly interesting is how he got caught. Read a story on that here.
Michael L. Olson, 30, (right) was due in court on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery for an incident you can read about here.
A search warrant used to search a home reveals new details, including the fact that police talked to Olson’s mother prior to his arrest. L
ynda Olson told police her son awoke her about 5:30 a.m., crying that his girlfriend, Amy, had died.
Read that search warrant here.
A judge will review conversations between a private investigator and a man accused of helping his girlfriend with a plan to kill her husband.
Judge Ellen Kalama Clark will decide what portions of Ted Pulver’s files to give to prosecutors seeking convictions for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder against Brian L. Moore, who is due in Spokane tonight and will appear in court Tuesday or Wednesday.
“I have significant concerns about how these statements might impact Ms. Stark’s issues,” Clark said, referring to Shellye L. Stark appealing her March conviction for murder and conspiracy to commit murder.”I don’t think I can just blankly order Mr. Bradshaw to hand over the materials because it could affect Ms. Stark.”
Clark’s ruling was in response to a motion to quash a state subpoena for Russell Bradshaw, Stark’s former lawyer, (shown above with Stark in December 2007) and Pulver, a private investigator hired by Moore.
Pulver is a key witness in the state case against Moore but has said he won’t testify or supply information without a court order.
Bradshaw filed the motion against the subpoena, claiming Pulver’s information is off limits under attorney-client privileges.
“It is my duty to protect those materials,” said Bradshaw, who was fired by Stark following the jury verdict, along with co-counsel Bryan Whitaker. “I still represent her in spirit.”
Clark will redact portions of the materials she deems crucial to Stark’s case, then hand over the information to the state.
Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell called it “incomprehensible” for Bradshaw to hold Pulver’s investigative materials.
Bradshaw said he’s simply doing his duty as a defense attorney. Bradshaw also said he didn’t know what was in the materials because he hadn’t looked them over yet.
Haskell and Deputy Prosecutor Mark Lindsay were overheard outside the courtroom discussing what Lindsay called a conspiracy to deprive the state of the documents, and questioning how lawyers could sit on information that could possibly even exonerate someone.
Read past coverage of the Stark case here.
A fire captain arrested for helping his son escape a bar fight is back on the Spokane Fire Department payroll after serving a day in jail for three misdemeanors.
Ronald D. Clinger, 54, struck a plea deal that dismissed a felony charge of eluding police, moving him to paid leave with the department instead of unpaid layoff status, assistant chief Brian Schaeffer said.
An internal investigation will determine if Clinger will remain with the department, Schaeffer said.
Clinger makes about $102,000 a year.
Clinger, a 27-year veteran, will be on probation for two years after pleading guilty to reckless driving, first-degree negligent driving and second-degree criminal assistance.
He was sentenced last week to three days in jail with credit for time served. He was released on Saturday after less than 24 hours, records show. Spokane County District Court Judge John Cooney imposed the sentence.
Clinger was arrested on Nov. 4, accused of speeding away from police with his son, who was involved in a knife fight at a bar in Chattaroy.
Daniel W. Clinger, 33, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in February and was sentenced to four months in jail, records show.
Read the original story on the incident here.
An international drug ring that spanned three decades earned a North Idaho couple federal prison sentences last week.
John “Phil” Keyser, 67, was sentenced to 33 months in prison and his wife, Texanna M. Keyser, 67, was sentenced to three months in prison and seven months home detention after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The couple also will forfeit property they bought illegally, totaling about $875,000. U.S District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill sentenced the Keysers Friday.
Their son, Jerod Keyser, a Priest River mortgage broker, was sentenced to eight months in prison in March and eight month home detention for his role in the crime.
The Keysers, former owners of a Priest River diner, pleaded guilty last year in a scheme federal prosecutors say centered on a drug ring that imported drugs from Mexico and Southern California, shipped them to Portland, Ore., then distributed them across the country.
The ring helped distribute more than 100 tons of marijuana, investigators say.
The Keysers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money for hiding drug money in the purchase of the Village Kitchen restaurant and the Raptor View Estates in Priest River, as well as the purchase of the Mountain Meadow Estate in Pend Oreille County.
A retired firefighter with a history of driving arrests is back in jail after a judge learned he’d caused two car crashes and received one speeding ticket since his last arrest.
David W. Batty, 53, who had been prohibited from driving since last fall after an arrest for drunken driving while impaired, is being held on $200,000 bail for violating his release conditions.
A furious Judge Ellen Kalama Clark imposed the unusually high bail Thursday.
Read the story here.
A man accused of attacking a teenager with a machete will undergo a mental health evaluation before he appears in court.
A court appearance for Douglas W. Harmon, 49, was cancelled Friday so he could be transported to Eastern State Mental Hospital. Judge Ellen Kalama Clark said she preferred Harmon undergo the evaluation “given my understanding of his current mental state.”
“I’d prefer not to have him dragged into court,” Clark said.
Harmon is charged with two counts of first-degree assault for a bizarre attack outside his apartment in the 200 block of W. 6th. The weapon police say Harmon used is shown above in a picture from KHQ local news.
Victim Eddie Ramsey described the attack in an article you can read here.
Some wear ski masks. Others pull hoods over their heads.
But a man who may be responsible for two hits at payday loan centers in the past week appears to be taking a different approach to concealing his identity: fake dreadlocks.
The dreadlock wigs found at hippie festivals and novelty shops have shown up in witness accounts of robberies at two locations of The Cash Store, one last Friday at 1509 N. Pines Road in Spokane Valley, the other last night at 5920 N. Division Street.
In the first case, Spokane Valley police found a female clerk locked in the store crying who said a black man in his late 20s or early 30s had fled with cash after telling her he had a gun about 6 p.m.
Last night’s robbery occurred just after 6:30 p.m. on the other side of the county, but in both cases, the robber was said to be wearing a long black wig and mirrored sunglasses.
In the first case, the victim said the suspect was confident and relaxed, as if he had committed previous robberies.
Police have not determined if the robberies are indeed connected, or if either is connected to June 2 robbery at the Cricket phone store at 4009 N. Market Street.
View a video of that robbery here.
Anyone with information on the robberies should call Crime Stoppers at 509-326-5111, or forwarding the information via the website www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.
Spokane’s newest pharamcy robber apparently didn’t think he had much to hide.
This photo shows the man police say robbed a north Spokane Walgreens of OxyContin at gunpoint Tuesday walking into the store dressed like a normal guy - no attempt was made to conceal his identity.
“it kind of shows you the addictive nature of the drug,” said Lt. Dave McGovern. “It’s not like we enver arrest these people. They know people are being arrested and they still do it anyway.”
Another sign of OxyContin’s popularity: the number of tips police receive on robberies that turn out false.
Lots of people know someone they think is capable of robbing a pharmacy for the drug, police said.
In this case, police anticipate a quick arrest. A tip based on a surveillance photo led to the arrest of suspect in the last robbery at at the South Hill Walgreens.
The company that makes OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
The company introduced OxyContin in the late 90s and has been under scrutiny for lying about the drug’s addictiveness and encouraging doctors to over prescribe it.
The man accused of starting a wild tussle in Spokane Municipal Court made a terrible decision and feels awful, his public defender said Thursday.
Micah W. Hasselstrom, 34, was scared of going to jail and panicked when Judge Tracy Staab said he was going there during a hearing Wednesday morning, his lawyer told Spokane County Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark.
Hasselstrom tried running, but his lawyer grabbed him, sparking a brawl that ended with Hasselstrom, a deputy and three lawyers falling onto a bench of bystanders.
A 68-year-old woman suffered severe bruising and scrapes on her ankle and leg when the group fell on her, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court today. Read the original story here.
“It was a dumb move,” Hasselstrom’s lawyer said. “I think he acknowledges that now.”
The state asked for $20,000 bond, but Clark imposed $5,000, noting Hasselstrom’s lack of a felony record and the dates of his misdemeanor convictions.
Bond for his no contact order violation is at $100,000, according to jail records.
Chaos erupted in an unlikely place today - a Spokane Municipal Court hearing for a misemaonor no contact order violation.
A brawl that began when a man tried fleeing a courtroom this morning ended with the man, a deputy and three attorneys falling onto a bench of bystanders, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
Read the story here.
Suspects on today’s court docket include a gang member nicknamed Tiny Loc who was once wanted by Crime Stoppers for assaulting his girlfriend’s children and making a threatening call to a Spokane elementary school.
Reporter Thomas Clouse covered Larry Glenn Gatewood’s arraignment today on five counts of stalking and three counts of threatening to kill his estranged wife.
Superior Court Judge Annette Plese ordered Gatewood held on a $200,000 bond and set his trial for Aug. 10.
Writes Clouse, “According to court records, Gatewood for months made harassing phone calls for to his estranged wife – who does not have the same last name – at home and at work.
In several instances, Spokane Police officers were present when Gatewood made dozens of calls, including some where he threatened his wife’s life.
Last fall, Spokane Police employed the help of the Long Beach, Calif., Police Department to help locate Gatewood. Officers there got in a foot pursuit with a man matching Gatewood’s description, but they were unable to apprehend him.
Last October, police said Gatewood made threats that prompted officials them to briefly shut down Logan Elementary School. ”
But what makes Gatewood particularly interesting is this story from 2005.
If you’re reluctant to click the link, check out the first paragraph:
“Assault victim Natasha Gardner told police she knew Cinnamon Johnson had been married to Jello Johnson. But she didn’t know Cinnamon Johnson was now married to her friend Larry “Tiny” Gatewood when Cinnamon came calling last December.”
A man accused of a knife-point OxyContin robbery at a Spokane Valley Walgreens was due in Spokane County Superior Court today.
Michael Alan Miller was arrested Jan. 23, nine days after the alleged incident at the pharmacy, 2702 N. Argonne Road.
The robbery came in the midst of a slew of OxyContin-related robberies that culminated in the arrest of a young couple in late February.
The city saw no successful OxyContin pharmacy robberies for several months until the June 7 robbery at the South Hill Walgreens.
Fingerprints linked Miller, who had a pretrial conference scheduled, to the Jan. 14 crime. His sister told police she wanted him to get help for his OxyContin addiction, according to a search warrant.
So far, they’ve been right.
Another Spokane pharmacy was robbed about 5 p.m. today. Read the story here.
A burglary at the Spokane Valley Meals on Wheels left the office trashed with overturned furniture, thrown food and walls covered with profane messages.
Now Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that solves the crime.
The Spokane Police Department is applying for a grant to fight a problem officials say they don’t fully understand.
The department is preparing an application for a $500,000 federal grant dedicated to fighting the sexual trafficking of children, Assistant Chief Jim Nicks said at Monday’s public safety committee meeting.
“We believe there’s some kind of problem in the city because of the size of the area,” Nicks said. “Perhaps we’re not aware of the depth of it.”
The three-year grant is from the U.S Department of Justice.
A Spokane man connected to teenagers charged with second-degree murder was sentenced today for his role in the crime.
Daniel R. Wood was credited for two days served in jail after pleading guilty to first-degree rendering criminal assistance, a felony.
Police say he helped Michael L. Summa, 19, (right) and Christopher E. Hooper when they were on the run for the stabbing death of Shannon Cochran, 22.
Cochran was killed after a fight over a friend’s drug debt, police say.
Summa and Hooper are charged with second-degree murder, along with Tylor Buttolph, (left) 19. Buttolph’s mother, Tanya Buttolph, is also charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance. Her trial is scheduled for August.
Also on the docket was Mikhail M. Savin, who’s charged with vehicular assault and failure to remain at the scene of an accident for a car crash in February. He faces drug charges in another case.
Read a story about Savin, who had an omnibus scheduled, here.
Terran D. Schatz, 23, is accused of robbing the South Hill Walgreens of OxyContin June 7 in the first successful robbery of the narcotic in Spokane in a couple months.
He was arrested Friday night after a police officer contacted him in a car at Liberty Lake park and recognized his name.
Adam J. Dally, 25, was arrested in April for a December robbery at the same store. Richard T. Ludvik, 23, is also charged with robbing the store in January.
A 2006 photograph from the Eastern Washington University student newspaper (left) shows Schatz being arrested on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, drive-by shooting, possession of a short firearm by a person under 21-years-old, possession of drug paraphernalia, false reporting and obstruction of a public servant.
He got a plea deal for possession of marijuana and received credit for six days served in jail, record show.
This sign can be found in a wheat field on Highway 23 south of Harrington.
It’s the first winner in a contest Lincoln County officials hope will become an annual event in Washington - the campaign against methamphetmine.
Modeled after the Montana Meth advertising project, the contest aimed to teach the public about the dangers of the drug through art campaigns designed by teenagers.
The contest only received one entry, but coordinator Darren Mattozzi said they’ll allow smaller entries next year in hopes of getting more attention.
“We had so many people commit, but this was the only that actually fit because of the size requirements,” Mattozzi said.
Suspects on today’s Spokane County Superior Court docket included a woman whose cat-packed house was raided after a neighbor found what turned out to be broken freezer filled with dead felines and called authorities.
Once described as an animal advocate, Penny K. McIntosh, 57, faces ten counts of first-degree animal cruelty after 85 cats and four dogs were seized from a small house she rented at 2812 W. Sharp Ave. last summer.
Her neighbor described his situation as “like living next to a human toilet,” in a story you can read here.
McIntosh and her attorney, Dave Hearrean, were due to ask for a trial extension today
Two accused OxyContin robbers were also on the docket .
Adam J. Dally, 25, is accused of using a gun to rob the Liberty Lake Walgreens of nearly 900 OxyContin pills Dec. 5. He’s also charged with first-degree robbery for a Nov. 26 at the South Hill Walgreens, 2830 S. Grand Blvd. That Walgreens was robbed again Sunday in a case that remains unsolved. Read about it here.
Liberty Lake Detective Ray Bourgeois spent months building a case against Dally, who traveled to Seattle after the robbery, according to previously published reports.
People who led Bourgeois to Dally included a former girlfriend who claimed to have been having sex with him in exchange for drugs and heard him brag about robbing the pharmacy, records show.
Dally joined Sunshine VanCleave on the pre-trial conference docket. VanCleave is accused of robbing a Deer Park pharmacy in a story you can read here.
She discussed her addiction in a major story on OxyContin back in January that you can read here.
Also on the docket was Scott A. Johnson, 49.
He’s charged with bail jumping and possession of stolen property but is part of a larger Washington State Patrol investigation involving Pinnacle realty found Joe Ward.
The Spokane County Superior Court docket was dry today, and even if there was something worth looking into, a civil case that wrapped up in Judge Greg Sypolt’s courtroom would have surely stolen its thunder.
Closing arguments were this morning in a bizarre lawsuit in which family members of the late Jimmy Marks (left) accused Rosauers grocery store employees of unlawfully detaining their 11-year-old girl and calling her a prostitute.
It took the jury less than an hour to decide in Rosauer’s favor.
Russell Van Camp, a Spokane attorney who has said he has a reputation for taking “difficult” cases no one else will, represented the family. Michael McFarland, a Spokane lawyer who also represents the Nine Mile Falls School District in the suicide cleanup lawsuit, represented Rosauer’s.
Read Thomas Clouse’s story here.
A man described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “big man in hate” resurfaced yesterday when an acquaintance who stayed at his Hayden home stormed the National Holocaust Museum and killed a security guard.
Before avowed white supremacist James W. von Brunn, 88, was known nationally for the horrific crime, he was a house guest at Stan Hess’s place on quiet Cardinal Avenue in a Hayden subdivision.
Read a story on that here.
What struck me about my conversation with Hess (right) yesterday was his consistency.
What he said Wednesday matched what he’d said in conversations we had when I was the schools reporter in North Idaho: he hates guns and wants to create change for the racist movement through civic action, not violence. However, it should be noted that a national hate watch group has documentation of Hess being arrested at an anti-immigration rally in California for burning a Mexican flag.
Hess lost a bid for the North Idaho College Board of Trustees in fall 2006, then signed up for the school paper as a student in a story you can read here. He quit when the staff prohibited him from calling illegal immigrants “illegal aliens.” Read a story on that here. The story on his candidacy is available here.
He resurfaced in May 2007 as a candidate for the Coeur d’Alene School Board, running against police spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Wood. Read an article on his candidacy that includes an endorsement from white supremacist David Duke here.
Hess lost the race by a considerable margin, and no one heard much from him until von Brunn’s arrest.
Hess said he was the Kroc Center Wednesday when he learned of the shooting but didn’t realize he knew the alleged shooter until a TV station showed up at his house.
A man charged in a deadly Halloween shooting outside a Spokane nightspot opted for a plea deal the day his first-degree murder trial was set to begin.
Matthew R. Jones, 25, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and faces about 10 years in prison.
Trial for Jon Espinoza, the man who allegedly fired the bullet that killed 22-year-old Joshua Ridgely, is set for September. Read Thomas Clouse’s story here.
The same day Jones opted for the plea, a man questioned in the same shooting but never charged was on the Spokane County Superior Court docket on unrelated charges.
Zacharia A. Tesch, 30, was due in court Wednesday on drug and gun charges related to a police raid at his home in March, records show.
Tesch is listed as a witness in Espinoza’s murder case and told police he was trying to help a friend during a fight when he heard a gunshot.
“At which time (Tesch) looked and saw that Matt, the male he had met (at) the 7-11 with Jon Espinoza, was holding the gun pointing it into the air. Espinoza then went to Matt, took the gun from him and started shooting into the crowd,” according to court documents.
Tesch left with friends in a white Mustang. Police went looking for the Mustang after witnesses said they’d seen it speeding away shortly after the shooting.
Police questioned Tesch and his friends and decided they were being truthful, court papers show.
But in March, detectives learned Tesch might have information about the Halloween homicide, according to a search warrant used to search his apartment.
Investigators found guns, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia, records show.
Tesch was also charged last month with possession of cocaine in relation to an incident the day before the Halloween shooting in which a police officer found cocaine in his car following a traffic stop, according to court records.
A stuffed gorilla used as a crime deterrent in Rosalia now has a name. Officer Chiquita has been with the tiny town’s police department for about year.
Police park an extra squad car around town and put Chiquita in the driver’s seat. Motorists don’t usually realize the officer is incapable of actually writing a ticket, said Kelley Messinger of the Rosalia Chamber of Commerce
Sometimes police will switch places with Chiquita after a few days in case motorists think they’ve figured out the trick, Messinger said.
The gorilla was getting its share of nicknames, so the chamber teamed up with the police department to find an official name.
The third- and fourth-grade classes at Rosalia Elementary School held a contest last week.
Fourth grader Sam Oien picked the wining name and won $25 worth of Sacajawea gold dollars. All students received a gold dollar for participating, courtesy of chamber Vice President Brady Kiesz and his wife, Kelley Ann Kiesz.
Chelsea A. Lawhead will serve the time concurrently with her existing sentence, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Harold Clarke ruled.
Lawhead, 19, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted escape for the Feb 17. incident.
Read a previous blog post about the case here.
Also on today’s docket was Derick D. Taylor, 29, who’s accused of a March home intrusion in which his alleged accomplice was shot in the stomach.
Taylor had an omnibus hearing today on charges of first-degree kidnapping, burglary, assault and two counts of robbery. Mark Cipolla is prosecuting the case, Public Defender Karie Reardon represents Taylor, who remains in Spokane County Jail on $250,000.
Read a story about his case here.
A man accused of stealing puppies from a pet store was scheduled to plead innocent in court today.
Donald G. Olson, 37, is in the Geiger Confinement Program on $5,000 bond.
He’s charged with second-degree theft, second-degree trafficking and stolen property and first-degree trafficking in stolen property for an alleged incident May 27.
Read a blog post about the case here.
From a Little League coach with questionable parenting skills to gang-bangers in Yakima with disasterously bad aim, click through to the full post for today’s roundup of noteworthy crime and public safety news from across the Pacific Northwest.
A devil-worshipping sex offender who recently moved to Spokane from Texas has registered at a new address in downtown Spokane.
Danny “Triple 6” Walter Schertz, 61, is living at the New Washington apartments, 327 1/2 W. 2nd Ave., according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
He’s not under supervision and is not wanted by police. He’s classified as a level 3 sex offender, the classification considered most likely to reoffend, and is required to check in with authorities quarterly now that he has a permanent address. He’s due at the Sheriff’s Office in September.
Schertz has convictions for rape, kidnapping and pimping and spent time in a federal prison for charges related to kidnapping a teen girl and pimping her at truck stops across the county, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Read the original article about him here.
He uses a wheelchair but has some mobility in his legs, detectives said.
“How can I sneak in under the radar when I wear Satanic tatoos and symbols all over me?” Schertz said. “Like a guy at the (downtown bus) plaza said, ‘you stand out like a sore thumb.’”
Schertz denied any sexual abuse and said he’s a proud Satanist.
“I just want to be left alone,” Schertz said. “I’m just out doing my own thing, and it don’t have anything to do with no teenagers or no kids, or anything illegal.”
In a phone conversation this morning, Schertz took issue with this blog post in which the Church of Satan denied he’s a member.
Schertz claims to be a member of both the Temple of Set and the Church of Satan. An email to the Church of Satan seeking comment was sent this afternoon.
Schertz said today that he joined the Church of Satan while a prisoner in Stillwater, Minn. in the 1970s, where he was serving 13 months on a charge related to procuring prostitution, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
“If you were to print anything that I don’t belong to the Church of Satan in your newspaper, that’s going to be a lie,” Schertz said.
He said he fought the prison system for the right to practice Satanism and was able to have his Church medallion and membership certificate mailed to him there.
His girlfriend at the time dropped off a robe for him to wear as he practiced Satanic rituals, he said.
“I’m a Satanist and I’m not going to change my religion for you or anybody else,” he said. “I’ve got Christian friends. I’ve got Catholic friends. I’ve got friends in all different religions.”
He emphasized what the Church of Satan said in an email to The Spokesman-Review last month: “Satanists, they don’t harm children.”
“I don’t go around looking for kids,” Schetz said. “Young kids give me a headache.”
A man urinating in a bush triggered a drunken altercation involving a handgun this weekend, according to court documents.
Phillip J. Koller, 61, pointed a silver handgun at a man and four children and threatened to “blow your brains out” after one yelled at him for peeing in a bush at 4622 N. Assembly St. about 10 p.m. Saturday, according to a probable cause affidavit prepared by Officer Jason Arredondo.
The children told police they’d been playing hide and go seek.
Koller was on today’s Spokane County Superior Court docket but his first appearance was delayed until Tuesday, according to jail records.
He remains in Spokane County Jail on five counts of first-degree assault. Appearing in court via video today was a Spokane man accused of stabbing another man in the neck during a fight at a downtown motel.
Coleby A. Richards, 24, appeared on one count of first-degree assault about 10 hours after his arrest at The Downtowner, 165 S. Washington Street.
Read a story about his arrest here.
The wife of the man accused of leaving a truck at a car dealership emailed The Spokesman-Review about the payment dispute a day before his arrest.
Damian C. Dunigan, 40, appeared in Spokane County Superior Court today on one count of making a bomb threat to injure persons or damage property.
Police say he put a sign in the window of his 2007 Dodge Caliber stating there was a bomb inside and left it at the Dishman Dodge dealership at 7700 E. Sprague Ave. about 6:15 p.m. Thursday.
The threat was written on the back of repossession paperwork from Chrysler that police say he refused to complete at the dealership, according the Spokane Valley Police Department.
Police arrested Dunigan, who had a large knife, at his home in the 4200 block of North Vercler after a short standoff.
Dunigan’s wife, Leah Dunigan, told police he’d written the note a day earlier “because he felt Chrysler was cheating him,” police said.
Leah Dunigan emailed the newspaper Wednesday about 1:20 p.m. asking for help resolving a dispute over truck payments. Read her email by clicking the link below.
A Spokane man who stole prescription drug patches from nursing homes to get high will spend eight months in prison.
Cory R. Morse, 22, (right) will begin his sentence June 10, Judge Maryann Moreno ruled today.
Morse and his girlfriend, Lacey B. Sell, 20, were arrested in January after a three-week investigation into missing Fentanyl patches from adult care facilities.
Police alleged the two stole patches from the bodies of more than a dozen people. Fentanyl is used to treat chronic pain; Morse said he squeezed gel out of the patches and smoked it to get high.
Morse pleaded guilty this week to burglary charges related to that case, as well as manufacturing a controlled substance for 15 marijuana plants police found when they raided his house in the 2110 block of West Mission.
Moreno sentenced him to six months for the marijuana plants and eight months for the burglary; he’ll serve the sentences concurrently.
Read a story on his arrest and listen to clips of him talking in the Spokane County Jail here.
Sell’s trial is scheduled for July 20.
Other suspects on today’s Spokane County Superior Court docket included a trio of accused robbers.
Zachary T. Allen, 19, Kimberley A. Norman, 20, and Nathan K. Webb, 25, each had pre-trial conferences scheduled before Moreno. Allen and Norman are accused ofa month-long robbery spree that police say was driven by OxyContin addiction.
Police say Allen used a black gun later identifried as a BB gun and wore a black ski mask during eight robberies at conveince stores, cash stores, and one pharmacy.
Norman is accused of being his getaway driver in seven robberies; Webb is accused of driving the getaway car once.
Read a story on Allen and Norman’s Feb 6 arrest here. Read a story on the three pleading innocent in March here.
Norman and Webb are free on bond; Allen is being held in Spokane County Jail on $200,000 bond.
This character is Jackie Leo Hughes, a 35-year-old man wanted for second-degree assault. His three-year criminal history includes convictions for false reporting and assault, according to a reward offer from Crime Stoppers.
He’s described as 6 feet tall, 160 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online at www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.UPDATE 6.24.09: Hughes has been arrested.
The last of three defendants was sentenced today to serve more than 41 years in prison for a robbery and drive-by shooting that all three suspects and a key witness claim they didn’t commit
Read Thomas Clouse’s story here.
A teen boy accused of burning a homeless man over stolen beer money pleaded innocent today to first-degree attempted murder and an alternative charge of first-degree assault.
John C. Palmer, 16, is charged as an adult but being house in juvenile detention after his arrest May 22 - two weeks after transient Peter H. Krueger walked into Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center with second-degree burns, court papers show.
The Spokesman-Review only prints the names of juvenile suspects if they are charged with serious felonies.
Appearing in court via video, Palmer wore a yellow shirt with “honor level” written on it in red letters, a sign of his achievements while in juvenile detention, his lawyer, Dennis Dressler said.
“That’s gotta be a good thing,” said Dressler, of the Counsel for Defense Judge Ellen Kalama Clark set Palmer’s omnibus and trial dates for July 9 and July 27.
“Due to the nature of the case we do not expect the July 27 trial date to stand,” Dressler told the court.
Tony Hazel represented the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office. Palmer is being held on $250,000 bond.
Read the story on his case here.
Other suspects on today’s Superior Court docket included a woman arrested in an alleged identity theft ring and a man connected to Pinnacle Realty founder Joe Ward.
Brittaini C. Dorman, 22, was arrested in January in an investigation triggered by a stolen iPhone from Wal-Mart. Read about that case here.
David K. “Ink” Sankey is charged with harassment and assault for alleging firing shots on Joe Ward’s property. Details of Sankey’s case are in this blog post, and a story on Ward’s arrest in January is here.
Dorman had an omnibus hearing today; Sankey had his trial date postponed.
It looks like Eli Skalak is getting his 15 minutes of fame.
The suspected Coeur d’Alene burglar will be featured on Inland Northwest billboards advertising a crime stoppers reward for his capture.
Skalak, 29, is accused of breaking into an elderly man’s home in the 1100 block of Margaret avenue in Coeur d’Alene Monday night.
The homeowner - awoken by his dog - shot suspect Shae A. Crump in the arm, according to the Coeur d’Alene Police Department. A third suspect, Jake S. Smith, 18, turned himself into police Tuesday night.
Anyone who knows where Skalak is is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. His mug shot will appear on Crime Stoppers billboards in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene as space becomes available.
There are billboards at the following locations: Sullivan and Mission, Sprague and Evergreen, Argonne and Montgomery, Dishman Mica and Appleway, 29th and Regal, and Huetter and Seltice in Coeur d’Alene.
Read the original story on the burglary here.
First the Tacoma area. Now Yakima.
The government crackdown on scantily clad baristas is marching east.
Yakima City Council members have prohibited thongs and see-through clothing in public as part of a plan to combat what some say is a growing public indecency problem as baristas reportedly shed more and more clothes in their bid to bring in more customers and greater tips.
The Inland Northwest, however, appears to still be embracing its lineup of enticing baristas, with radio contests such as Latte Hottie and no proposals in sight to regulate espresso attire.
To read The Associated Press story on Yakima’s crackdown effort, click the link to see the full post.
One day after the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office announced no criminal charges would be filed for the massive Valley View fire last summer, a lawyer for the surgeon blamed for the blaze commended the decision and said she will continue to “vigorously defend”against lawsuits filed by fire victims.
Those lawsuits were part of the reason Deputy Prosecutor Brian O’Brien decided not to file misdemeanor charges against Tracy Berg or the teen boy. Read a story on that decision here.
“This decision by the Prosecutor in no way diminished Dr. Berg’s concern for those who sustained damage in the Spokane Valley View fire,” according to the statement.
Seattle lawyer Tammy Williams’ full statement, emailed to The Spokesman-Review this morning, is available here.
The Mead woman killed in a crash in downtown Spokane Tuesday night was a secretary at a Spokane elementary school.
Lori Keller died and her husband, Gary, may be paralyzed after Jon A. Strine crashed into their motorcycle while driving his Mercedes at Fifth Avenue and Brown Street, according to police.
“Everyone just loved her,” said Terren Roloff, Spokane Public Schools spokeswoman.
Read Sara Leaming’s story here.
Don’t forget about D.F Oliveria’s updates on Kootenai County scanner traffic on his Huckleberries blog here.
Suspects on today’s court docket included a man accused of a brazen residential burglary that was foiled when a neighbor called 911.
Wendall D. Bagley, 24, and his brother, Joe M. Bagley, 23, were arrested last April after a stolen truck smashed a through a fence in Spokane Valley neighborhood, news archives show.
Police arrested Wendall Bagley that day, but Joe wasn’t found until two days later. Wendall charged with residential burglary, first-degree theft, theft of a motor vehicle and attempting to elude a police vehicle.
Court papers show the elder Bagley drove the burglary victim’s truck from the home in the 14100 block of East Mission Avenue, then crashed through a fence at 21st Avenue and Becker Court before being arrested after a brief foot chase.
Read a brief about the case here.
Wendall Bagley had an omnibus hearing today. Court records show his younger brother pleaded guilty to similar charges this week. I’ll pull the documents on that tomorrow.
First appearances today include Jon Strine, accused of a vehicular homicide for a car-motorcycle crash in downtown Spokane.
Read a story on the crash here, and check back tonight for an update on the case.
Suspects scheduled to plead innocent today included former Crime Stoppers fugitive Dmitry Stepanov, who’s accused of stealing and pawning vehicle GPS devices, court papers show.
Stepanov was featured in the inaugural addition of Courthouse watch here.
The city of Spokane has had a nice distinction since March - no homicides.
Besides the shooting death of Johnnie Longest by Spokane police officer Dan Lesser, the last police-investigated killing was a stabbing death March 3.
Spokane averages about 12 to 14 homicides a year, said Lt. Dave McGovern.
The March 3 killing is the third murder case in Spokane in 2009.
“It’s a little bit unusual but not unheard of,” McGovern said. “We’re more than happy to not have to respond to murders.”
Authorities apparently are making progress in the war on marijuana seed peddling. The Associated Press reports that a deal is in the works to bring Canada’s “Prince of Pot” to a federal court in Seattle to plead guilty to a charge of conspiring to maunfacture marijuana in exchange for other charges being dropped. The full AP story is available by clicking the link below to see the full post.
Two sheep heads were found in Spokane Valley this morning.
The heads were found in the middle of Sprague Avenue just after 2 a.m., at different cross streets, Spokane County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan told reporter Sara Leaming.
Reagan said deputies think the heads may have fallen off a truck en route to a local rendering plant.
“There’s nothing to indicate it was anything sinister,” he said.
Reagan said a head may have also been found within the Spokane city limits.
Suspects on the first appearance calendar today included a 62-year-old man accused of a brazen, daylight burglary at a Spokane Valley convenience store.
James R. Clemons appeared in Spokane County Superior Court via video today to hear his charges: first-degree theft and second-degree burglary.
Judge Ellen Kalama Clark set his bond at $30,000, and no mention was made of Clemons’ status as an escapee from the Montana Department of Corrections.
The Spokane native and longtime felon was arrested Friday after a newspaper reader spotted him in Colville coffee shop and matched him to his photo in the paper.
You can read more about Clemons and watch a video of the April 21 Hico store burglary here.
A high-profile OxyContin robbery case that drew sanctions against the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office and allegations of a state witness framing the defendants earned a young man nearly 26 years in prison today.
It was an emotional day in court as Tyler W. Gassman’s lawyer, David Partovi, called the sentence “the worst thing I’ve ever seen come out of the courts.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Partovi told Superior Court Judge Michael Price. “I just want the record to reflect and mankind to know that this is the worst thing I’ve ever seen come out of the courts. For the first time in my entire career, I’m ashamed to be an officer of this court.”
Reporter Thomas Clouse attended the sentencing before Superior Court Judge Michael Price. Read his story here.
Read past coverage of the case here.
A Coeur d’Alene man will serve at least 12 years in prison after being convicted of lewd conduct with a minor under 16.
Travis N. Turnboo, 21, was convicted on three counts, and Kootenai County 1st District Judge Charles Hosak sentenced him to 50 years in prison Monday with eligibility for parole after 12 years, according to the Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office.
Turnboo has been in Kootenai County Jail since his arrest Aug. 13 for sexually abusing three children in a year, records show.
Suspects on today’s Superior Court docket included a man connected to an accused methamphetamine dealer arrested after a day-long stand off last week.
David L. “Cowboy Dave” Harwood was arrested May 27 near the Whitworth Arms apartments, the site of a Sheriff’s SWAT team standoff with Casey D. Beckham that same day.
Undercover detectives approached Harwood after learning he had a warrant for escape from community custody on a robbery conviction, court papers show.
They found suspected methamphetamine in his pocket, according to a search warrant filed in Spokane County District Court, and Harwood told them of 11 stolen firearms in his car when they called for a tow truck for his car.
That’s when Beckham, a longtime felon featured in this blog post, entered the picture.
Court papers show Harwood told detectives he and an associate identified only as Whitey were to sell the guns to Beckham to clear a drug debt.
“Harwood told your affiiant that he would have his $600 methamphetamine debt owned to Casey Beckham cleared for brokering the guns,” according to the warrant prepared by Detective Dean Meyer. “Harwood stated that Whitey was to either receive two ounces of methamphetamine for the guns or $700 cash and one ounce of methamphetamine.”
Beckham was arrested late that night. Read a story on his arrest here.
Harwood appeared in court via video this afternoon on charges of first-degree burlgary (domestic violence), first-degree armed robbery and attempting to elude, court records show.
Leftovers from Friday’s packed court docket include the case of Daniel Lambrix, 19.
Judge Maryann Moreno sentenced Lambrix Friday to credit for jail time served as well as 12 months of probations and more than $7,000 in fees for second-degree arson and second-degree malcious mischief.
He was accused of torching an apartment complex last fall in a case featured in this blog post.
Joseph E. Whipple, 21, (left) and Jimmy D. Dempsey, 17, were each due in Spokane County Superior Court May 20 on charges of first-degree robbery in a case featured in this blog post.
Whipple didn’t show, and Crime Stoppers sent his mug shot and a brief description of his charges to the media today.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online at www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.
Joe Whipple is the second Whipple making the news today.
Jeffrey Anthony Whipple, 44, escaped from a work crew with two other prisoners near Avery, Idaho, Sunday night or early this morning. Read a story on that here.
There is no indication whether the two are related.UPDATE: Jeffrey Whipple was arrested on 6/2/09. Read about his arrest here. UPDATE 6/23/09: Joseph Whipple has been arrested.
Additional charges have been filed against the man accused of trying to force his estranged wife’s boyfriend to jump off a bridge two weeks ago. Those charges show deputies responded to reports of violence at the couple’s home a week prior.
David E. Epley, 36, (left) was due in Spokane County Superior Court this afternoon on charges of rape, unlawful imprisonment, violation of a protection order and two counts of tampering with a witness for an alleged incident a week before his arrest on kidnapping and attempted murder charges May 13.
He pleaded innocent to those charges last week. His new charges stem from an incident May 6 at the Frontier Road home he shared with his wife.
According to court papers, Epley was angry with his wife when she came home that morning after saying the night with her boyfriend, according to court papers, and is accused of forcing her into their bedroom and sexually assaulting her.
Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy George Yingst and other deputies responded to the home but made no arrests, papers show. “They concluded that due to conflicting accusations, David saying (his wife) pointed the gun at him, and unreliable statements by the children, there was not sufficient probable cause to make any arrests for any crimes,” according to the court papers.
The gun allegedly used in the incident was confiscated.
Eleven citizens received life-saving awards from the Spokane Fire Department Saturday. The annual awards ceremony also honored retirements and promotions.
Honored citizens include a 20-year-old man who saved a man from a burning van in January, a 9-year-old girl who rescued her sister from a swimming pool, and three Shaw Middle School teachers who saved a colleague.
Joshua Myers (left) smashed the van’s window with a shovel, unlocked the driver’s door and pulled him to safety. Police hailed him a hero in a story you can read here.
Carol Parks and John Page saved a man they saw go unconscious at his desk and slump to the floor. “Because of their concern for a fellow citizen and their willingness and ability to perform CPR, there is no doubt that their actions are directly responsible for Mr. Downs being alive today,” according to the Fire Department.
“Their actions reflect greatly upon themselves and their community.”
Teachers Frankie Ghee, Dave Paulson and Jessica Gaddy took turns performing CPR on a man in cardiac arrest at Shaw Middle School in September.
“They were co-workers and personal friends of the victim. The resuscitation efforts on scene were intensive including needing to defibrillate the patient 7 times,” according to the Fire Department. “These three individuals remained on scene throughout the incident and assisted the crew. The patient survived and was taken to Holy Family Hospital where he was stabilized and taken to Deaconess for further cardiac care.”
Nine-year-old Amanda Fjermestad saved her 3-year-old sister’s life last August. She found the girl face down in a swimming pool and jumped in with her clothes on, pulling the girl to safety. “CPR was started prior to the Fire Department’s arrival and her sister was successfully revived,” according to a news release.
Suncrest resident Dan Jones and off-duty Spokane police Officer Daniel Lesser were at their daughters’ indoor soccer practice in January when a woman said her father was having a heart attack. The two went to parking lot and performed CPR while instructing onlookers to call 911 and police dispatch.
Ross Boatsman (right) and Greg Mechals saved a man from a burning apartment last June. Boatsman and Mechals, his uncle, risked their lives pulled the man to safety and performing CPR in a story you can read here.
Two firefighters received the distinguished conduct award for their work involving a horse trailer accident near Division and Ermina in October.
A horse had fallen in the trailer and several people were trying to get it back up when Andrea Kernkamp and DJ Hill arrived. The two safely removed the horse from the trailer and helped transport it to an animal clinic.
“Hill and Kernkamp’s professionalism and compassion during this incident led to a successful conclusion and represented the Spokane Fire Department in the most positive and much appreciated way,” according to Fire Department.
The department’s Medal of Valor and Purple Heart awards went to Shawn Poole, who was injured after he fell through a floor while battling a massive fire at the Joel building in downtown Spokane July 24.
Poole is serving with the Army in Iraq. His wife, Teresa, and other family members accepted the award on his behalf.